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Deadly Serious Rolands Kaņeps

May 11, Saturday 2024 - August 25, Sunday 2024
From 11 May to 25 August 2024, the exhibition Deadly Serious Rolands Kaņeps, part of The Generation cycle, is on view in the right wing galleries of the 2nd floor of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1).

Rolands Kaņeps (1925, Riga – 2011, New York) is not only an outstanding painter but also a refined connoisseur and collector of antiquities. The artist’s creative career was extraordinary. Kaņeps began his education in Latvia, in the art studio of Jūlijs Matisons and Jānis Roberts Tillbergs. The teaching staff also included Kārlis Brencēns, whose book Kā vecie lielmeistari darināja savas gleznas [How the Old Great Masters Made their Paintings] served as a source of reference in his later life. World War II radically intruded upon Rolands Kaņeps’ life, in autumn 1944 having been captured in the streets of Riga, he ended up in Germany, moving to Austria a few months later. Kaņeps continued to paint and participate in exhibitions in Salzburg, Graz, Linz and this determination was further strengthened by the positive feedback from art professionals.

In 1949, Kaņeps found the opportunity to leave for the USA, and New York becomes his city. While living in this epicentre of art and culture, Rolands Kaņeps nevertheless remained indifferent towards the new artistic movements of the second half of the 20th century. Likewise, Kaņeps did not quite fit into the overall picture of émigré Latvian art and did not conform to the conventions of Latvian identity.